Your step-by-step guide to developing a career plan

Developing a career plan and setting career goals help focus your job search. Thinking about what you want to do and what you have to do to accomplish these goals can help you find a satisfying job and career. Thinking this through will also help you make the most of your skills and professional experience.

Evaluate yourself

The first step towards finding a new job is self-assessment. Knowing what you like to do, what you are good at, what your strongest skills are and what is important to you. These points will help you determine what job suits you best. They will also help you market yourself to potential employers.

If you can describe the skills you have and how they relate to the job you are applying for, you will position yourself as a strong candidate for the job.

Know yourself

Make a list of skills you have. This list should include the skills you acquired through all your jobs, full-time, part-time and temporary.

Identify job interests

To determine the professional field that interests you the most, think about what you really like to do (at work but also in everyday life). Think about professional experiences you have enjoyed. Evaluate what you liked, what you found challenging and what you may have learned from those experiences. Finally, find out about the types of jobs that best fit your interests and know-how.

Know what you want

Do you want full- or part-time work? What shift do you want to work? How far are you willing to travel to work? What kind of work environment do you prefer? How much do you want to earn? Etc.

Know what you like

Do you like the social side of working with other people? Do you prefer to work in a team or independently? Do you like numbers? Do you like to be creative? Etc.

Your ideal job

Before you begin your job search, it’s important to identify the type of work you want to do. Take a few minutes to describe your ideal job, listing the characteristics you would like your new job to have, for example: title, day-to-day tasks, responsibilities, advancement opportunities, industry, work environment, equipment and workplace setting, company size, salary (range), benefits, total hours a week, working hours, distance from home, amount of travel, start date, etc.

Know your skills

We all have many abilities and skills, but it is important to know how to categorize and present your skills to employers.
Typically, skills are divided into three categories:

Transversal skills or soft skills

These skills can be useful in a variety of jobs. Examples include:

  • problem solving

  • written communication

  • organization

  • motivation

  • analytical mind

  • attention to detail

  • socializing skills

  • communication

  • sense of duty

  • time management

  • stress management

  • capacity to adjust

  • self-motivated

  • etc.

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Job-Related skills

These specific skills are gained and reinforced through professional experience. Examples include:

  • typing speed

  • phone skills

  • computer programs

  • driving a forklift

  • language skills

  • etc.

Personal skills

These skills relate to your personality. Examples include:

  • hard-working

  • enthusiastic

  • punctual

  • honest

  • upstanding

  • loyal

  • dependable

  • ethical

  • etc.

The employability profile

To make it on the job market, you have to know how to remain competitive. This is obviously true for jobseekers, but it's also relevant for employed people, particularly if they have been in the same position for a number of years.

Because it's not just about finding a job, it's also about being able to last in a position. At a time when jobs are being reorganized and transformed as new technologies are created, it is better to have a few trumps up your sleeve. Expanding your focus and increasing your versatility are key to improving your employability, whether you are looking for a job or are currently employed.

Stand out from the crowd

Rarely has the job market been as tight as today. Despite a high unemployment rate, employers seem unable to find the profiles they are looking for. The professional world is changing as technology evolves. Employers seem to be becoming increasingly demanding, and it looks like jobseekers can no longer rely solely on a traditional CV to highlight their experience and skills. Creating an employability profile will increase your chances and give your application an edge. The employability profile can either be integrated into your CV or stand as a separate document in your application file. This document acts as a selling tool, listing your abilities and skills (job-related and personal skills) and your transversal skills.

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Writing your employability profile

Writing your employability profile is somewhat different from writing your CV. However, your CV can serve as a solid foundation on which to build your profile because it lists your skills and abilities. All you have to do is link each of your skills and knowledge to the professional experience through which you acquired them. For example, you can use numbers to describe an accomplishment, demonstrate the profit that you generated for the company, or show the percentage increase of productivity, cost reduction or time saved. Your employability profile can also include positive comments on your ability to work with others, solve problems or find cost-effective solutions under tight time constraints. In short, your employability profile has to highlight your performances.

Validate your knowledge

The employability profile is particularly useful if you replaced someone at short notice and were able to carry out your functions perfectly with no prior training, or if you learned your trade on the job. In these cases it might be advisable to obtain a certification validating your skills and knowledge. When you are temping, you are entitled to funding to train via Temptraining once you have worked for a given number of hours. At the end of day, the most important thing is to stay on top of your skills in order to remain competitive and earn the trust of a potential employer in your ability to perform.

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Develop the skills that employers consider the most useful

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential employer and try to understand their needs. What kind of training will provide you with the skills necessary to land a particular job or continue in your current position? The idea is to question yourself and periodically re-assess the relevance of your skill set and professional experience. This exercise allows you to reflect on your newly acquired skills, on your ability to put new knowledge into practice, on how your personal interests can help you fulfill your role or on the way unsuspected abilities helped you face a particular situation. As an individual, you have to show how you could use your skills to help the company successfully meet the challenges ahead.

Market yourself

Selling your employability profile to an employer is part of a modern approach to the job search. In this respect, don't hesitate to use social media to your advantage, whether you are keeping abreast of innovations in your field by joining specialized forums or using your network to send out a positive image of yourself and your professional skills. Keep in mind that it is crucial to remain professional in any situation and even on non-work-oriented social media platforms. The cards are now in your hands to show that your skills, knowledge and abilities meet employers' expectations. Show that you are on top of the technological advances and innovations related to your profession and position. You can start developing an employability profile tailored to the strategic needs of the company you are applying to.